What's it all mean? The secure babies expected that the circle mother would return to the circle baby and comfort him. These secure children's experiences had taught them that when you're distressed, someone will be there to soothe you—and that equates to love. The insecure babies—ones who had likely experienced neglect or indifference when distressed—were surprised when the circle mother responded with care, something researchers found heartbreaking.
Week 54 Brain Booster
It's an important part of the human condition for babies to learn that parents or other loving adults will care for you when you're in a needy state. Sure, children will learn to manage their own needs over time—but they're dependent for so many initial years and their understanding of relationships takes so long to develop that this internalized feeling of security is crucial to hone early. Over the years, they'll come to expect such loving responses from parents, friends, spouses, and others.
So even though your independence-seeking 1-year-old may seem like she's more self-sufficient than ever, she still needs you to be steadfast in your attention and care for her: The relationships she makes this year and beyond depend on it.
Curious about how else your toddler might be developing right now? Learn more about her clever brain and her growing body here: